American Indian veterans in Wisconsin and Arizona will benefit from grants to rehabilitate veterans housing in rural areas.
The Home Depot Foundation and the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) recently awarded more than $250,000 to build or preserve veteran housing to 10 housing non-profits, including ones serving the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Indians in Wisconsin and the White Mountain Apache tribe in Arizona.
The Bad River Housing Authority in Odanah, Wisconsin will use its $30,000 grant to repair three veteran homes in Ashland and Iron counties. And the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority, in Whiteriver, Arizona, will use its $30,000 grant to repair three veteran homes on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.
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HAC is a Washington, D.C.-based national nonprofit that builds homes and communities in rural America. In 2013 it published an in-depth report on American Indian housing. And in April of this year, HAC executive director Moises Loza wrote an op-ed in The Hill advocating the reauthorization of the Native American Housing Assistance and Determination Act (NAHASDA), the law that gives Indian nations power over their own housing programs.
He wrote “Reauthorization of NAHASDA without adequate funding would be hollow. Federal funds for Indian housing have been virtually frozen for the past 20 years. Adjusted for inflation, NAHASDA has essentially been cut by 33 percent, despite a steady stream of reports including HUD’s 2017 Housing Needs Assessment quantifying deep poverty, and a corresponding lack of plumbing, heating and electrical problems as all too typical for American Indians.”
In other news from these nonprofits winning awards, the Bad River Housing Authority has gotten grants to assist with recent flood damage and the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority continues to administer one of the most successful housing projects ever attempted in Indian country.
At Bad River, the BRHA has gotten a $450,000 grant from the HUD Imminent Threat program to help repair homes damaged by extensive flooding last year. And it has received a $300,000 Indian Community Development Block Grant for home repair.
The ICDBG money will go to 12 BRHA housing units and another six private homes that were in the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Home Improvement Program, according to the nonprofit’s newsletter.
At White Mountain, the Apache Dawn program has successfully built 317 units of single-family housing and continues to work with tenants in a 10-year program for them to qualify for homeownership.
The 317 units have been built in six phases (the biggest one involved building 100 units) using an innovative $25 million financing package involving a housing bond, Department of Housing and Urban Development Section 184 and Title VI loans, a private lender (Bank One) and money from the tribe’s federal housing block grant.
In addition, the WMAHA obtained two loans for $5 million to build water and wastewater infrastructure.
It also received a $350,000 grant for a homeowner education program to help residents qualify for mortgages. In order to be eligible tribal members must earn at least $18,000 a year and have less than 50 percent of that amount in total debt.